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Resilience: Stories of Adult Learning

Supporting learners and potential learners into and through adult, further and community education

These stories and multimedia resources can be used by friends, family, tutors, libraries, enrolment, and of course learners themselves. Whether it is getting back in to education in the first place or looking at how you might progress in what you are doing, there is a story. Perhaps the course is getting a bit rocky, a health or family issue comes up, and it is difficult to keep going, there is a story. A number of tutor pieces contribute to understanding the journeys and the successes along the way.

In addition to the freely available written stories, there is video and audio on these webpages, often with accompanying transcript. The full list of contributions can be found in this section entitled 'Resilience: multimedia resources'. A number of stories are available translated into a range of European languages. The book is widely available on e-book platforms to support using reading apps on devices, and in paperback for cost of printing plus p&p. We encourage you to support learners to read and write reviews online using reading networking sites such as GoodReads. 

Learner stories were collected from across Australia and the United Kingdom, and include voices spanning much of the earth. The anthology originated in two national adult literacies organisations whose members wanted told the stories of the resilience of learners and the value of developing literacies through lifelong and lifewide learning. This is the latest collection in a tradition of learner narratives and publications, by RaPAL (Research and Practice in Adult Literacies), and ACAL (Australian Council for Adult Literacy). The contributors were keen to inspire and reassure peers into participation, and to thank the tutors and institutions who helped change their lives, who travelled and supported them during their learning journeys.

In presenting their writing, many learners realised increasing confidence, supporting children and grandchildren, and opportunities in current and future voluntary roles and employment. Learners experienced the therapeutic benefit of social, creative and learning activity, as many worked through trauma and tragedy, through every form of loss, ill health, difficulty, disability, addiction, abuse, disruption, instability and struggles through state interventions, to learning in the later stages in life. Each story has been tagged and indexed with themes, which makes them searchable as well as browsable in the e-book, paperback and website versions. The website includes a small range of multi-media contributions, including transcripts. Most learners appeared to be eagerly bridging the digital divide.

For the diversity of learning provision which exists, the response to our call is inspirational. In addition to large adult, further, vocational, higher education and charitable provision, we have encountered a phenomenal range of community activity which builds in learning and outreach work. These may be in schools, neighbourhood groups, religious organisations, or outdoor forest school or allotment plots. We have contributions generated in offender learning, secure care, supported housing, retirement care, and special educational needs expertise, which build towards independent living.

Each story we hope will find readers who identify, and stories that illuminate the challenges and successes of others. As we read the learners’ stories, we see unfolding in front of us the rich personal and intergenerational benefits that are afforded through adult learning provision in diverse sites and diverse modes. We hope you enjoy and disseminate our anthology ‘Resilience: Stories of Adult Learning.

Resilience Flyer

“This is an excellent resource – an inspirational collection of stories that have the potential to empower many learners and their communities.”

Dr Vicky Duckworth, Faculty of Education, Edge Hill University